Community characterization of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve and Surrounding Areas

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Morehead, Sally
Beyer, Tami G.
Dunton, Kenneth H.

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The University of Texas Marine Science Institute




The human dimensions of our environment greatly influence the effectiveness of coastal management. The human dimension is characterized by the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of our surrounding environment. Changes to these aspects influence human perception and behaviors, which affect resource management decisions. An examination of the human dimension can provide a better understanding of not only resource flow, but also how human perception and behaviors are linked to resource flow. This knowledge can be used to develop decision support tools that will increase state and local managers' capacity to address the human dimensions of coastal management. The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve's (NERR) geographic, biophysical and political configurations are complex; therefore, a broad-scale assessment of the human dimension is necessary to provide a comprehensive snapshot of human behavior and trends. Characterization of the human dimension for the Mission-Aransas estuary and the surrounding watershed will document the current state of knowledge and provide a baseline assessment to identify changes in future characteristics of the human dimension. This characterization will support the Mission-Aransas NERR site profile development and management planning efforts. Characterization of the human dimension will also support development of a regional action strategy for applying social science to support ecosystem-based management and watershed planning in the Mission-Aransas NERR and the South Texas coast. Characterizations of the human dimension and development of a regional action strategy will benefit coastal resource management professionals within the Mission-Aransas NERR, the State of Texas, and the NERR System. The intent of this document is to create an approach that can be applied at other NERR sites to identify human dimension data gaps and applied social science approaches necessary to support NERR site profile development and long-term management and planning efforts. This information will be used to enhance the capacity for resource managers to make better coastal management decisions.
"April 5, 2007. Revised May 3, 2007."